How to make pocket sketchbook

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Some of my favourite things at the moment are my sketchbooks.

I have lots of them, and also journals and pocket notebooks everywhere. And I use them for different things.

I have one that is for doing my minimum 15 minutes artwork each day, I have one for the sketches I do when I am sitting in a cafe, or outside or where ever. I have one for my small purse and one for my lager bag and others here and there. I love having a sketchbook in my bag, along with a tiny little pencil case, and a watercolor set, that always go with me, wherever I am.

Some years ago I learned how to bind paper books so I started to make Artists books and notebooks and I still love making them. I do like to upcycle things in my creative projects that would otherwise get thrown out. I was responsible for the upcycling programme of a company called Fretex, which is part of the Salvation Army. I had lots of fun when I designed a notebook for them and this notebook is the design I feel the most proud of. It has featured in TV and newspaper articles for years. (The Last time was this Monday on TV2)  See the notebook here and NRK TV.

 My last Artist book “Hawaii”

Hilton hawaiian village waikiki beach resort honolulu. Aloha artists bookHilton hawaiian village waikiki beach resort Honolulu Aloha artists book Aloha artists book

My artist’s book is a lot of fun and for me this is what I love the most, it is an art project in it self. The book should be seen as one object and an artwork. So you can’t rip a page out.

My art journal is where I explore all kinds of mixed media techniques like painting, printmaking, collage, doodling, and drawing. It is also a small place for me to practice, explore and brainstorm all kinds of creative ideas. I often keep them accessible within reach. For example there is always one beside the sofa, so that when I get an idea i start to work on it, or even just write it down so it doesn’t get lost.

On the other hand, my sketchbook is more for drawings I might do when I am in a cafe, or outside and that can be a good place to practice and to get comfortable with drawing. And practice- practice- practice!

Art journal DIY

Art journal DIY Art journal DIY

I am kind of lazy when it comes to do work where you have to look at every detail and millimeter. (But, when I first do it is great fun)

I never spend money on new paper for these self-made books, it feels great to get rid of some leftover paper that is lying around in my studio. It always gives me lots of energy for I always get a nice surprise by the outcome. I go through the drawers and look around and find paper that will make interesting combinations, it can include an old drawing or something I printed that wasn’t quite right.

Bind the papers.

The easiest and fastest way is to staple the pages together with stapler but it is easy and very cool to stitch the papers by hand  or you can even use a sewing machine.

  •  If I stitch by hand I usually have 3 holes but you can do it with 5 if you want, depending of the size.
  1. Start from the outside to the inside and threading your string through the middle hole into the center of the book.
  2. Thread it from the center to the top.
  3. From the top hole, take it down and through the bottom hole into the center of the book.
  4. String it from the bottom hole through the center hole to the outside of the book. Both ends of the string should be on either side of the string going down the spine.

Tie the threads in a square knot around the center string.

And after I trim the side of the book and make them equal size. For that, I have to cut all the other pieces to the same size using a ruler.

Art journal DIY

Art journal DIY

The easiest and fastest way is to staple the pages together with stapler, use a large staple that you used for wall etc. Just shoot them through the paper.

With a little effort (maybe less then 15 minutes) you can have a notebook to be proud of and also do some recycling to help the planet. And they make a lovely present for your friends and family. Oh yeah……. I likaaaaa that.

art journal DIYart journal DIY





19 thoughts on “How to make pocket sketchbook

  1. That’s a wonderful concept. Although people today prefer carrying a camera rather than sketchbooks… But I am now thinking the other way round. 😉

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